Stay away from the light

Just like the clock in Aunt Millie’s dining room. Except for the grenades.

Just like the clock in Aunt Millie’s dining room. Except for the grenades.

Poltergeist is a curious name for an art exhibit. You’d expect the word, normally used to describe a rambunctious ghost, to represent artwork verging on the supernatural. But Zach Hill—best known to Sacramentans as the drummer for Hella—instead offers Fools Foundation visitors an intriguing mix of sculptures and paintings that are far from ghostlike. Some are only too real.

Hill’s beautifully carved wooden cuckoo clock is like the one your Aunt Millie had in her dining room that so was so entrancing when you were a kid waiting anxiously for the bird to pop out and sing its song. Set at Iraq time, this clock’s bird pops out and sings on the hour, guided by those long chains dangling from the clock. However, Hill’s seemingly innocent timepiece has two grenades hanging ominously underneath.

“Cabinet” is a slick installation of three large photos: shots of a glowing heavenly nebula, a shimmering galaxy, and Jupiter’s colorful strata piercing the darkness. Soccer trophies line up under the prints, their golden legs manipulating a ball in the air. But it’s not just any ball; it’s the Earth. The names inscribed on each trophy are recognizable: Condoleezza Rice, Gale Norton and all the members of the Bush administration’s Cabinet.

Hill goes elsewhere with coiled industrial tubing, topped asymmetrically with large, thin, blue discs. This piece is accented with bread-loaf-sized chunks of naturally formed glass in yellow, green, pink and blue; and the whole thing is lit from inside like a glowing spaceship.

Hill also paints acrylics in vivid hues, highly charged and erratic. Some are explosions of energy in front of your eyes. In a little room on the side of the gallery, more than 220 of his small paintings on cardboard offer a continuum of his energetic stream of consciousness.

Poltergeist is on display at Fools Foundation, located in the basement at 1025 19th Street, through April 29. For more information, call (916) 446-4221.